Orange County Insight 02 2021

Heart - Healthy Recipes Need Not Taste Like Diet Food

By Kaci Daniel, Virginia Cooperative Extension Office, Unit Coordinator

February is American Heart Month, and the local Extension Office is here to confirm you can enjoy heart - healthy foods without feeling like you ’ re on a restrictive diet. A heart healthy diet limits saturated fat, trans fat, sodium, and sugar. It includes a balance of whole grains, fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, low - fat dairy, and healthy fats like those found in nuts and seeds. To avoid that “ diet ” feeling, add herbs and dried seasonings to increase food flavor. Serve foods in a fun way, like on a kabob stick, as shown in the accompanying recipe. Incorporate many colors of foods so meals appear vibrant and stimulating. Step outside of your comfort zone and try new fruits and vegetables. Experiment with cooking traditional recipes in a new way, such as broiling instead of frying, or using a pressure cooker instead of hours in the oven. In addition to eating healthy foods, the body ’ s heart also needs to be exercised in order to stay in shape. At least 30 minutes per day is recommended, so consider increasing activity during commonplace activities like talking on the phone or during a Zoom meeting. Squats, lunges, and walking in place can help keep your heart healthy. For additional heart - healthy recipes, visit Virginia Cooperative Extension at or contact the Orange office at (540) 672 - 1361.

Recipe: Beef Kabobs

Source: Texas AgriLife Extension

Serves: 5


1 lb extra lean beef steak

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp minced garlic

1 medium bell pepper cut into 20 squares

10 cherry tomatoes

10 small, fresh mushrooms

2 small, yellow squash cut into 10 slices

Non stick cooking spray


Cut meat into 20 (1 - inch) cubes

Thread meat, bell pepper, tomatoes, mushrooms, and squash alternately onto five (12 - inch) skewers.

Sprinkle evenly with salt and garlic.

Coat grill rack with cooking spray; place on medium hot grill (350° to 400°F). These can also be done in the air fryer, or a conventional oven.

Place kabobs on rack and grill uncovered, turning once for 10 minutes or until beef reaches a minimum of 145 degrees F.

Recipe Notes: 140 calories, 1.5 g saturated fat, 3 g net carbs, 22 g protein

Page 15 | February, 2021

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